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GECOM’s general election machinery kicking into high gear with procurement of vital supplies

Preparations for upcoming general and regional elections are gradually moving into high gear, as the country awaits President Donald Ramotar’s announcement of E-Day.

Cabinet has given its no objection for the procurement of GYD$55 million in Duracell batteries and sensitive materials for GECOM ahead of impending General Elections. (US$1.00 = GYD$208.00)

This comes amidst the backdrop of an announcement by the president last month that he intends to dissolve Parliament and call elections early this year.

At his post Cabinet briefing today Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon shared that GYD$35.2 million was cleared for the procurement of paper, security seals and ballot boxes.

Asked why the need for additional ballot boxes in light of the existence of same from previous elections Luncheon said that challenges to results of previous elections demanded that some boxes be kept as evidence in the security facilities of Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).

A GECOM official, speaking under anonymity explained that while some ballot boxes are indeed “tied off because they are related to elections that have pending court matters,”the primary reason for the procurement of more boxes is to ensure GECOM is in a state of preparedness for coming elections.

He shared that some of “the transparent (ballot boxes) which have been used in the might have been damaged.”

“We just want to ensure that we have adequate supplies so we are putting ourselves in a state of preparedness.” GYD$20 million will be used to procure Duracell batteries. Insulate Luncheon speculated that GECOM, by procuring such a large amount in batteries may be looking to have a contingency plan in the case of a power failure on election day. He also noted the possibility that many of the equipment to be used in the elections process are battery operated.

Meanwhile, GECOM in a statement yesterday informed the public that “logistical and administrative preparations” for general elections have “long begun and that “the Commission now awaits the announcement by His Excellency, the President, of the date for General and Regional Elections, after meaningful collaboration with GECOM.”

The agency said that having completed the 7th Cycle of Continuous Registration it is currently working to produce the Preliminary List of Electors (PLE). This announcement comes amidst a call made yesterday by Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) General Secretary Clement
Rohee for GECOM to a properly sanitized list.

GECOM says that a fingerprint cross matching practice is one of the measures which precedes the production of the list. Once the PLE is produced it “will be used in the prerequisite Claims and Objections exercise relative to the holding of General and Regional Elections.”

All persons eligible to vote in the coming elections are urged by GECOM to check PLE extracts which will be posted in their respective communities to ensure their details are accurate.

With elections last held in November 2011, Guyanese should have returned to the polls in 2016 but a no-confidence motion sponsored by the Alliance For Change (AFC) has seen the government stalling the inevitable return to the polls during this year.

For the time being, the Ramotar administration has been able to hold off debate on the motion by suspending Parliament in November 2014 and announcing that elections would be held during this year.